I am Priscilla

Day 1

Yet another wake-up too early in the day, met at 7am by Dion from Mulga's Adventures, for a 3 day tour of Uluru (Ayers Rock), Kata Tjuta (the Olgas) and Watarkka (Kings Canyon). It was 250kms down to Uluru, with a first stop at a camel farm. They breed them for racing, not eating. I don't know which is worse, but I've ridden a (stroppy) camel in the Sahara, so I decided not to repeat the experience. It was here that everyone really started chatting, and it turned out that we had a top group. Dion - a complete geezer, as was Iain, Emily, Jill, Lisa, Des and his girlfriend, and a Dutch brother and sister, Avalon and Deseree. We all bonded pretty well, except for Avalon, who tended to piss everyone off, bar myself. I gambled on kicking off the intros aftering discovering Des was a Manc, with:

Q: What's the difference between Batman and a Manc?
A: Batman can go out without Robbin'!

Went down a treat. We arrived at Uluru at about noon - and at first and later sight it was incredible. The world's largest monolith, 348m high, or 863m above sea level. We went on a quick walk, then Dion took us on the Mala walk, which explored somke of the spiritual symbolism of the various features to the local aboriginals, the Anangu. The cultural centre, where we had lunch, was also fascinating, especially the realisation of the level of understanding the locals have had for tens of thousands of years of the symbiosis between man and nature.

The Anangu, however, do not present any of the geological information on how Uluru was actually formed. That would be akin to heresy. Nevertheless, Uluru was formed millions of years ago in a massive river - it was on the river bend and grew from deposits of sediment. Then the river dried up and Uluru was, at some point, twisted upwards thorugh 90 degrees, with two-thirds of it still below ground today. That this happened is evident from the image below, in which you can clearly see the (now vertical) lines of deposition, which are now at a right angle to the ground.


Whatever geology teold me, however, I decided not to walk up the rock the next morning. 400,000 people per year visit Uluru, of which 70% climb, but it just didn't feel right to me. The Anangu feel responsible when people are injured or die, as would you if someone was climbing the roof of your house. Plus, a condition of the handback of the area by the federal government to the Anangu 20-odd years ago was that people should be able to climb up, as this is the reason that most people travel there. But it's the most sacred thing, the centre of the Anangu universe, and it didn't seem proper to clamber all over it. So, I went on a walk around the base instead, which was excellent and very informative. Then we watched sunset and had dinner out of the back of the van. The earlier cloud had disappeared, so the view looked something like this:


The we drove off to our campsite, to find someone already there. Plan B: drive around in the bush for a while until finding something ok, which we did, then eventually got a fire going and had a great night packed with dodgy jokes.

Day 2

After the optional morning ascent of the rock, we went off to the Olgas, also known as Kata Tjuta to the Anangu. We spent the whole day walking around it, after we got there as it quite a way away. It was almost as good as Uluru -it was higher, and some think that in the past it was ten times higher than Uluru itself. We also stopped off today at Yulara, the township nearest to Uluru, where we got in some VBs and chilled out for a bit. Perhaps that's wrong - we warmed up, or tried to at least. The night before, sleeping out in swags, had been freezing, literally. There had been frost on the ground when we woke up. The last night went better, as we had a great campsite, a huge fire, marshmallows, and beer. And more dirty jokes and drinking games.

But it was still bloody cold, even with 5 people to a 4 man tent!

Day 3

Today, for half the day, we went to Kings Canyon, and spent a long time hiking around, getting some amazing views. I wish I had the photos on here so you could see. Kings Canyon was also where they filmed part of "Priscilla - Queen of the Desert". Right at the top of the part of the canyon we'd climbed, Dion whipped out a silver sequinned dress, into which I hastily clambered. It was quite cold, but I strutted my stuff for all and sundry, being a closet drag queen. Well not quite, but it was a comfy dress!

That was basically, unless you count everyone meeting up at a little restaurant in Alice Springs in the evening for a top meal, then heading off for drinks at a nightclub. Where Iain pulled Lisa and I...well, there's no need to go into that.

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